Accidents caused by a car making a left turn are usually the driver’s fault. According to National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 40% of all car crashes are intersection-related, and the majority happen when cars are making a left turn.
If you’ve been hurt in a left-turn car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. However, to recover damages, you would still need to determine liability and prove negligence. By contacting an experienced car accident attorney, it’s possible to build a strong case against the at-fault driver.
Responsible Parties in a Left-Turn Car Accident in Arkansas
In Arkansas, Ark. Code § 27-51-502 states that a driver making a left turn has to wait until they can make it safely before moving through the oncoming vehicle traffic. In some cases, the driver may not be responsible for the accident. That usually has to do with another driver’s carelessness, such as:
- Running a stop sign
- Driving under the influence
- Being distracted by the cell phone (eating, drinking, talking, etc.)
If the at-fault driver can prove that you were partially at fault for the accident, you may not recover the full amount of damages. That can happen because Arkansas is a modified comparative negligence state.
Comparative Negligence in Arkansas
The comparative negligence regulation in Arkansas states that if you are partially responsible for the accident, you can recover damages according to the percentage of your fault. If your fault is 50% or greater, you can’t recover any money.
For example, driver A makes a left turn and crashes into driver B who is speeding. Driver B files a claim against driver A for $10,000. The court or insurance company determines that driver A is 80% liable for the crash while driver B’s responsibility is 20%.
In this case, driver B can only get $8,000 ($10,000 minus 20%). Were driver A to sue driver B for damages, they wouldn’t recover anything since their fault is over 50%.
Fair Liability Distribution
This relaxed comparative negligence rule allows the at-fault driver to reduce the payout. Insurance companies work hard to prove that the injured party is at least partially responsible.
That’s why you should consider hiring an experienced car accident attorney to ensure fair liability distribution. Otherwise, if the at-fault party manages to prove that you are over 49% responsible, you could lose the case.
Other Responsible Parties
Other parties that may be found fully or partially liable for the accident are:
- Jaywalking pedestrians – for example, a pedestrian causes the driver from the oncoming lane to swerve or speed up and hit the car making a left turn.
- Government entities – for example, a large pothole on the road doesn’t allow the driver to complete the turn on time.
- Employers – if the driver is working at the time of the crash (e.g., truck driver), their employer may be responsible for covering damages.
While these parties are rarely liable, an in-depth investigation of the accident can uncover unexpected crash participants. This can help you recover fair damages.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-537-8185
Proving Liability in a Left-Turn Car Accident
No matter how straightforward the liability may seem, you still need to prove it. To do that, you will need evidence, including:
- Police report
- Photos of the accident scene
- Eyewitnesses’ testimonies
- Expert witnesses’ testimonies
- Cell phone records
- Intersection camera records
The earlier you start collecting evidence, the more likely you are to make a strong case. Unfortunately, many people put off any legal action until they are fully recovered from their injuries. This doesn’t just make it harder to build a strong case, it puts them at risk of not recovering anything at all.
Statute of Limitations
In Arkansas, you usually have three years from the date of the left-turn accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. While some exceptions exist, waiting to take legal action is ill-advised.
If you are taking care of your injuries and don’t have time to file a claim, consider hiring a car accident attorney. They can fight for your compensation while you take time to recover.
Proving Negligence in a Left-Turn Car Accident in Arkansas
No matter how obvious the other driver’s fault may be, you still need to prove negligence to recover damages. To do this, you have to demonstrate that:
- The at-fault party breached the legal duty of care to you – each driver has a legal duty of care to act reasonably and abide by traffic laws. If the driver doesn’t wait until the road is clear to make a left turn, they breach the legal duty of care.
- The breach caused your injuries– you have to prove that when the driver made a left turn, they caused your injuries. For example, the impact of a crash caused whiplash or broken bones.
- The injuries led to damages – you need to demonstrate that the injuries you sustained due to the breach of the legal duty of care led to damages. For example, a broken bone requires x-rays, a cast, and recovery therapy, and you need to come up with medical bills that prove it.
To prove negligence, you have to demonstrate evidence, obtain witnesses’ testimonies, hire expert witnesses, and much more. Since each case is unique, the complexity of the process varies. To avoid mistakes, you may want to hire a car accident attorney.
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